Archives For Place


[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1499191804″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″ alt=”Leonard Hjalmarson” ]Closer to Home than we Realize
A Review of

No Home Like Place: A Christian Theology of Place

Leonard Hjalmarson

Paperback: Urban Loft Publishers, 2014.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon_link asin=”1499191804″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link asin=”B00KMY8WH2″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Alden Bass.
I grew up in a tradition which resolutely refused to meeting places “sanctuaries.” There was no biblical warrant for the term, and besides, it sounded too Catholic-y. Had not Jesus himself prophesied that the time of sanctified places was coming to end? “The days are coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…but true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth.” The apostles, too, seemed to deny the holiness of any particular place, preferring to characterize the saints – either individually (Paul) or corporately (Peter) – as the new, bodily temple of God. “O Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.” We preferred to call our meeting places “auditoriums,” using the neutral latinate designation for “a large room for hearing speeches,” (in the process revealing our predilection for the word over the sacrament). For altogether different reasons, there is a movement afoot among the church-growth sector to eschew the freighted and old-fashioned designation in favor of the more neutral and seeker-friendly “auditorium” as well. Unsurprisingly, th­­­­­­­is trend has resulted in many anxious late-night word studies by blogging seminarians.

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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0830841156″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″ alt=”Book Giveaway”]Our Latest Book Giveaway…

We’re giving away THREE copies of the new book

The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community
Dwight Friesen, Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks

Paperback: IVP Books, 2014

Read our review of The New Parish


Enter to win a copy of this book!

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Willie Jennings

Here is the first of the audio recordings from the Slow Church Conference that we hosted last week here at Englewood Christian Church.

Our aim for the conference was to foster conversation around the work of several key theologians whose work inspired the [easyazon-link asin=”0830841148″ locale=”us”]Slow Church book[/easyazon-link] that John Pattison and I wrote.

[ Download a FREE sampler of the SLOW CHURCH book here… ]

Willie Jennings is Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School.

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[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0374272840″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”” width=”73″ alt=”Aaron Hirsh” ]An excellent book that arrived in bookstores last week…

Telling Our Way to the Sea: A Voyage of Discovery in the Sea of Cortez
Aaron Hirsh

Hardback: FSG, 2013.
Buy now: [ [easyazon-link asin=”0374272840″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]   [ [easyazon-link asin=”B009LRWJJI” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

“Hirsh delivers an important work about the power of place and the power of stories—scientific, historical, and personal—to shape our understanding of our world.”
– Publishers Weekly [ Read the full, starred review ]

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1455521914″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”220″ alt=”Rod Dreher” ]Closer to Home.

A Feature Review of

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life
Rod Dreher

Hardback: Grand Central, 2013.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”1455521914″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B0092XHZWC” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by Ellen Painter Dollar.

In November 1995, my then-boyfriend’s, now-husband’s brother died suddenly. A few weeks later, I preached a sermon at my little coffee-house church about how Jimmy’s death made me impatient with all of the outward-focused ministries for which my church (part of the venerable Washington, DC-based Church of the Saviour) was known. People affiliated with my church were doing wonderful things for DC’s poorest citizens—day care centers and GED prep and long-term supportive housing for those with HIV/AIDS. Good stuff.


But, I admitted, loving Daniel as he mourned his brother drew my focus a bit closer to home. I realized that we Christians are called not simply to do big things for Jesus “out there” in the world, but also to offer sacrificial love—Christ-like love—in our homes and families and friendships, where the needs can be just as big and desperate as those on our city streets or in undeveloped overseas locales.

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Paul Sparks, Chris SmithOn Tuesday night September 18, we here at Englewood Christian Church on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis were pleased to host a conversation about churches and neighborhoods facilitated by ERB editor Chris Smith and Paul Sparks of the Parish Collective.

This “Reimagining the Parish” conversation drew a diverse crowd of participants from around central Indiana (A huge thanks to all who attended!)

An overview of the conversation:

1) Chris sketches the Slow Church vision and why Englewood is excited about the work of the Parish Collective

2) Paul overviews the work that he is involved in with the Parish Collective

3) A wide-ranging Q/A conversation on churches, neighborhoods and place.

Please download, listen and freely share this recording as you see fit.
The evening was also video recorded and clips from that video will be available in the near future.




Doug Worgul: Thin, Blue SmokeAn excerpt from the best novel I’ve read this year,
which releases this week (though, through some confusion on my part about its release date, it wasn’t on our list of new releases to watch for this week… though it SHOULD have been!)

Thin, Blue Smoke: A Novel.

Doug Worgul

Paperback: Burnside Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

The blurb I wrote for this novel:
Doug Worgul’s Thin Blue Smoke is a poignant story that unfolds in and around a tiny barbecue joint on the backstreets of Kansas City. With bold and twisted characters like those of Flannery O’Connor or Frederick Buechner, Worgul weaves a rich and redemptive story that captures the spirit of its gritty, urban setting as well as any American novel that is deeply rooted in a place. In our world of increasing isolation and infidelity, Thin Blue Smoke stirs our imaginations with the hope of what is possible through deep and tenacious friendships.

The cover on the excerpt below is from the UK edition… The correct cover is on the left…

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Francis Kline - Lovers of the PlaceThe Staircase to Richer, Fuller Living

A Feature Review of

Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church

Francis Kline

Paperback: Liturgical Press, 2012
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by David Nash

When I received Lovers of Place, I opened the book with eager anticipation.  I was intrigued with the subtitle “Monasticism Loose in the Church” and looked forward to reading the book. Then I was disappointed to find out that the book was first published in 1997, and was republished in 2012 without revision.  “Why?” I wondered.  As I read through the book I found that my hopes were not high enough!  Indeed, Lovers of the Place, though only a few years in print, holds the promise of becoming a spiritual classic.

The opening chapter presents an extended allegory of the life of the church, an allegory that rings true with my experience as a parish pastor, and sets the agenda for the rest of the book.  The second chapter opens up the allegory as the author explains the transition from “personal pre-occupation to wonderment at the larger world of the church paradoxically inside the building.” (18)

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Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale - PlacesPlaces I love come back to me like music,
Hush me and heal me when I am very tired;
I see the oak woods at Saxton’s flaming
In a flare of crimson by the frost newly fired;
And I am thirsty for the spring in the valley
As for a kiss ungiven and long desired.

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Robert Chambers

Iste terraram mini preter omntj Angulus ridet –Horace

Written during a visit at the Nook, near Airth, Stirlingshire

One thing seems agreed on in speech and in book,
That, if comfort exists, ‘twill be found in a nook ;
All seems dreary and cold in an open area,
But a corner – how charming the very idea!
Hence, when, weary with toiling, we think of retreat ,
A nook is the spot that we ask for our seat – Continue Reading…